Aussie Mac Zone ~ Episode 327

Show 327 – March 23, 2020

Run Sheet ~ Zarn & Michael

                      

ithelp2u

Aussie Tech Radio

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Our Aussie Apple Ramblings

Story 1

Hitch hikers guide to the galaxy 42nd anniversary

March 2020 marks the 42nd anniversary of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy radio play’s first transmission on BBC Radio 4, credited as “launching a cult phenomenon.” “It’s an ordinary Thursday lunchtime for Arthur Dent until his house gets demolished.

Australian Man Behind New App That Will Help The Country Commemorate Anzac Day 2020

Let’s get behind it

Justin Wilbur refuses to let COVID-19 prevent the commemoration of Anzac Day this year – and he is making sure that the whole world stops to say thanks on April 25.

In what he called a sudden brainwave, the Ballarat man decided to set up a Facebook page asking Australians to stand at the end of their driveways at 6am on Anzac Day holding a candle for a minute’s silence.

The idea resonated across a country looking for good news at the moment, and the Facebook page – Aussies & Kiwis for ANZACS – attracted more than 110,000 followers in just three days.

But news of Justin’s idea son spread faster than the coronavirus across international borders and he was contacted by a Spanish app developer who has made an incredible offer.

https://www.triplem.com.au/story/australian-man-behind-new-app-that-will-help-the-country-commemorate-anzac-day-2020-158386

Calls for Australians to honour Anzacs from driveways, porches after service cancellations

With most public Anzac Day services either cancelled or significantly scaled back due to COVID-19, an idea that would see Australians mark the occasion from their own homes is gathering momentum.

Australians are being called to honour Anzac Day by standing at the end of their driveways for a minute’s silence after public events were cancelled across the nation.

RSL Queensland says the display would send a powerful message of solidarity to Australia’s defence community after Anzac Day services, events and parades were cancelled amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

People can safely commemorate a different kind of dawn service by standing on their driveway or balcony at 6am and uniting in the Anzac spirit, RSL Queensland State President Tony Ferris said on Wednesday.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/calls-for-australians-to-honour-anzacs-from-driveways-porches-after-service-cancellations

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Story 2

Working from home: your guide to the tech you’re going to need

With many people facing a long stint of self-isolation, remote working needs to be as easy as possible

With the coronavirus pandemic resulting in more and more of us being asked to work remotely, it’s time to get to grips with what’s required for working from home for more than just a day at a time.

Broadly speaking you have two options: a desktop computer or a laptop.

Desktop computers have a few advantages, with one big downside: you can’t easily move them.

The upsides are they are typically cheaper, can often be upgraded fairly easily and cheaply, and lower-cost desktops will likely age better than their laptop counterparts in terms of performance.

The big advantage of a laptop – portability – has one big downside: terrible ergonomics making you hunch over which is bad for your back, shoulders and wrists. Consider varying your working position and height during the day, from sitting at a desk or kitchen table to standing at a kitchen work surface.

Webcams might seem like an antiquated suggestion, but with video conferencing being in vogue, if you’re using desktop with separate monitor you might have to buy one. Thankfully they range from about $40 and up, with higher-priced models aimed at streamers.

If you a talking a lot on the computer, ie video conference etc. You should be able to use your bluetooth headphone you use in the car. So you don’t get a sore neck from from holding the phone.  Another alternative is a headset with mic. Just make sure you know what ends you need to suit your Mac.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/mar/21/working-from-home-tech-self-isolation

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Reminder this week we are bought to you by

Aussie Tech Radio

EFTM – The Podcast

Two Blokes Talking Tech

Audio Pizza

Geeks Interrupted

Aussie Mac Zone

Aussie Tech Heads

TechWebcast – not been up for nearly two years but he reckons he coming back

Vertical Hold

 

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Gaming

#1

Agent 8

This game was a pleasure to play. I couldn’t believe how good the graphics were

You are a tiny little robot spyder. With cool spy gadgets you are set to do your missions! 

I’m giving this game 4.6 apples and I would’ve given it 5 if there were more levels. 

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Entertainment

#1

Pixar’s computer graphics pioneers have won the $1 million Turing Award

Two men who invented game-changing 3D computer graphics techniques now widely used in the film industry have won the highest distinction in computer science: the Turing Award. If you enjoyed Toy Story, The Lord of the Rings, Finding Nemo, Titanic, Avatar, or Jurassic Park, you have them to thank.

Who are they? Edwin Catmull and Patrick Hanrahan. Catmull cofounded Pixar and hired biophysics PhD Hanrahan as one of the first employees in 1986. Hanrahan spent much of his time modeling materials and lighting to help animations look closer to real life. “Physicists generally don’t study hair or skin, and why they look the way they do. I did, and spent years thinking about how to get things like lighting right,” he told MIT Technology Review.

Their work: Hanrahan was the lead architect of the team that created the complex software known as RenderMan, which lets filmmakers turn images into photorealistic animations that can be blended with real-life scenes. Rendering determines which computer-generated images are visible on the screen for every frame, assigns them colors, and draws them. It brings an animation “to life.” In 2001 RenderMan became the first piece of software to win an Oscar. It has been used in 44 of the last 47 films nominated for an Academy Award in the Visual Effects category. Hanrahan later returned to academia and is now a professor at Stanford University.

Catmull’s contribution: From 1970, Catmull was part of the University of Utah’s ARPA program, where he came up with the first method to display curved surfaces on a computer. Up to that point, computer-generated images were all straight lines and polygons. While at Utah in 1972, Catmull created a short film called “A Computer Animated Hand,” which is one of the earliest examples of computer animation.

It took a long time for the industry to fully wake up to the potential of what he’d invented. The world’s first computer-animated feature film, Pixar’s Toy Story, didn’t come out until over two decades later, in 1995. Catmull invented other groundbreaking animation techniques, too: Z-buffering, used to determine which parts of an object are and aren’t visible on screen, and also texture mapping, which adds realism to computer-generated graphics. 

https://www.technologyreview.com/f/615376/pixars-computer-graphics-pioneers-have-won-the-1-million-turing-award/

Entertainment

#2

Congrats to the Grays Anatomy Show

For donating all there props to hospitals in the US

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Reminder this week we are bought to you  by

ithelp2u

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Story 3 

Stay in shape while you’re stuck indoors with Apple TV fitness apps

You don’t need to go to the gym for a great workout. If you’re stuck at home during the coronavirus outbreak, you can still work on your summer beach bod. If you’re itching to exercise indoors, you can get started — and maximize your gains — using Apple TV fitness apps.

Ever since Jane Fonda pulled on a leotard and leg warmers in the 1980s, people have been getting sweaty in front of their televisions. Now, Apple TV fitness apps bring home workouts bang up-to-date, with interactive programs tailored to users’ individual abilities and goals.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s make like Jane and feel the burn.

When you think about Apple and fitness, the first thing that probably springs to mind is Apple Watch. So you might be surprised to discover that Apple has another emerging fitness platform. There’s more to the Apple TV than Netflix and Crossy Road. Cupertino’s set-top-box has also carved out a niche for itself as a solid platform for fitness apps.

There are loads of great Apple TV fitness apps to choose from, including some from big names like Adidas. There are even rumours Apple has its own fitness offering in the works. But there’s no need to wait for that. With so many of us currently stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, now’s the perfect time to grab the Apple TV remote and start a workout.

Currently, the biggest drawback with Apple TV fitness apps is that, unlike iPhone apps, they can’t connect with your Apple Watch. This means they don’t record your heart rate or log your workout to Apple’s Activity app.

1. Adidas Training – brilliantly adapted for Apple TV

Adidas Training is one of the writers  favourite Apple TV fitness apps. All the best features from the iPhone app are included, but with a user interface that’s been brilliantly adapted for the TV screen.

Formerly known as Runtastic Results, this app features a wide range of strength and conditioning workouts. Like its iPhone counterpart, it offers 30 preprogrammed workouts to choose from, based on a built-in database of 190 exercises. For every exercise there’s a clear, well-produced video demonstration by a seriously buff shirtless dude.

You can try a couple of workouts for free. But if you get serious about using this app, you’ll want to subscribe to unlock them all. If you’re already a premium subscriber of Runtastic (the Adidas running app), Adidas Training is included. Otherwise, an annual subscription costs $49.99 and includes both iPhone and Apple TV apps.

2. Asana Rebel – ideal for serious yoga practitioners

Asana is an ancient Sanskrit word meaning body posture. It’s used in yoga to refer to the different positions you adopt during practice. As the name Asana Rebel suggests, this is an app for people who are pretty seriously into their yoga.

Most Apple TV fitness apps feature a library of exercises with a video for each one. These video clips are then combined together in different sequences to create workouts. But as you might expect, Asana Rebel takes a more rebellious approach.

Instead of short video clips for each individual exercise, Asana Rebel features long, continuous videos of entire workouts. This makes sense for yoga, because the sequence you do the asanas in, and the way you transition between them, is important.

The videos are beautifully produced, often in front of sumptuous outdoor backdrops and with relaxing music. Workouts are categorized based on different ability levels, goals and how much time you have. There’s even “Yoga for Men” — although gender doesn’t really matter in yoga. It’s for everyone.

If you have at least a basic knowledge of yoga, Asana Rebel looks like a great home workout option. But in my opinion, this is not one for beginners.

3. Streaks Workout – a workout app graphic designers will love

Streaks Workout is created by the team behind the award-winning iOS habit-tracking app Streaks. By taking the distinctive design style of Streaks and applying it to an Apple TV fitness app, they’ve created something truly unique.

You won’t find any videos of shirtless musclemen here. Instead, all the exercises are illustrated in a graphic style reminiscent of the US Department of Transportation’s classic pictograms (sometimes referred to as “Helvetica Man”). Seeing the little stickman dude animated like this reminds me of the title sequence of the TV show Chuck.

Streaks Workouts includes a total of 30 exercises, all of which you can do at home without any special equipment. All you need to do is specify your workout duration and the app will randomly pick an appropriate selection of exercises for you.

4. Nike Training Club – using iPhone fitness apps on the big screen with AirPlay

Nike Training Club is one of the best fitness apps for iPhone. Sadly, it still has not been adapted for Apple TV. That’s crazy, in my opinion, because it would make such an awesome TV app.

Still, all is not lost. The NTC app has an excellent landscape mode, which means it looks great on the big screen, thanks to AirPlay.

Nike even encourages its users to use AirPlay during workouts. But the instructions it provides in the app are hopelessly out of date. For the record, if you want to start AirPlay during a workout, just swipe down from the top-right hand corner of your iPhone X or above. Then tap Screen Mirroring and select your Apple TV.

One big advantage of using an iPhone app and sending it to the big screen with AirPlay is that it integrates with Apple Watch. So you get a buzz notification on your wrist when it’s time to switch exercises.

Stay in shape while you’re stuck indoors with Apple TV fitness apps

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Story 4 

Aussie schools kept open as online tests cancelled due to COVID-19

Although schools across the country have been directed to stay open amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) online testing regime has been binned.

“Education ministers met today and decided that NAPLAN will not proceed in 2020,” a statement from the Education Council read.

“All education ministers acknowledge and thank all of our school leaders, our teachers, and support staff for the essential work they do every day educating our children and young people, particularly during these challenging times.”

The NAPLAN test window was scheduled to be held from May 12-22.

The decision to not proceed with NAPLAN in 2020 also means that the scheduled testing of the NAPLAN Online platform, the Coordinated Practice Test (CPT), will not proceed. It was due to commence on March 23.

“The decision to not proceed with NAPLAN in 2020 has been taken to assist school leaders, teachers, and support staff to focus on the wellbeing of students and continuity of education, including potential online and remote learning,” the statement said.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/aussie-schools-kept-open-as-online-tests-cancelled-due-to-covid-19/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

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Story 5 

9 Tips to Successfully Work From Home During the Coronavirus

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, life is changing for people around the globe. For many, this means radical changes in the way they work. While those who are freelancers or who regularly work remotely may not feel much impact to their daily routine, this isn’t true for everyone. As offices shut down and ask their employees to stay home, millions of people are experiencing what it’s like to work from home for the first time.

As with any major change, settling into something new can feel overwhelming at first. Where should you set up your workstation? Should you even bother getting dressed? How can you stay connected with your colleagues? These are all valid concerns. At My Modern Met, we’re used to working remotely with our editorial staff spread across the United States and Europe. That’s why we’ve decided to come together and give some handy tips on how to handle your workday, even when you’re not in the office.

So stay calm and you’ll see that, once you settle in, working at home isn’t so different from working at the office. By following these easy tips and tricks from those who have experience in working remotely, you’ll get into the groove in no time.

Here are 9 easy tips to make working at home a breeze.

Get Into a Routine

At first, you may want to indulge in not having to go to the office by sleeping a little late and procrastinating. Give yourself a day or two to take advantage and then snap back into a routine. This is no vacation, and it will be noticeable if you aren’t doing your work. It helps to set your alarm at a regular time and go through your normal morning routine.

If you’re used to getting a coffee on the go, start getting into a new ritual with a fresh pot in your kitchen. By keeping things consistent, you won’t find yourself scrambling at the end of the day to get things done because of delays early in the morning.

Get Dressed

Part of this new routine includes getting dressed! Don’t slip into a bad habit of sticking to your pjs. Sure, perhaps you don’t need to put on that suit and tie, but getting yourself dressed in the morning can lift your mood. And doesn’t everyone need to be in a good, positive headspace to be productive?

Don’t Work in Bed (or on Your Sofa)

While it can be tempting to settle on your sofa or stay in bed with your laptop, don’t fall into this trap. Though it may seem comfier, in the long term you’ll find yourself sitting in positions that could end up doing a number of your back and also make you less alert than usual. Keeping yourself productive means setting up a workstation for yourself, preferably in a quiet place close to a window or filled with light.

Take Breaks

Without an office setting—and the distractions that come with it—you might risk getting so immersed in work that you forget to take a break. It’s important to make sure that you are giving yourself proper downtime during your day. Think about employing the Pomodoro technique, which asks you to break your workday into 25 to 30-minute intervals followed by short breaks. The idea is to promote focus and flow by allowing you to set times for concentration, followed by a break.

Though you can use any timer, there are different apps that will help you get into a rhythm. We’re fond of Take a Break Please, an iOS app that dims your browser at specific intervals.

Stay Active

While you’re on your breaks, don’t just sit in your chair and browse the internet. Get up and get active, whether that means doing some stretches or moving around the house to do chores. In fact, one of the perks of working from home is that you can get a lot done during these breaks. Whether throwing a load of laundry in the wash, starting up a meal in your slow cookers, or getting in a quick yoga session, you’d be surprised at what you can accomplish.

Use Technology

Being out of the office doesn’t mean you’re all alone. Thanks to technology, you can stay as connected as ever to your coworkers. From Slack to Skype, you’ll be able to keep office culture going. And, of course, video conferencing apps—even FaceTime—make it easy to speak “face to face” about important issues or just to chat. Take advantage of these outlets, which are particularly important if you live alone, as they’ll give you the human contact you might be craving.

Don’t Sit in Silence

Can’t stand silence? Music, television, and podcasts will become your best friends. What you select depends on the type of work you do and how easily you get distracted. Some people find it comforting to have the television playing in the background, while others prefer upbeat music to keep their mood light. Podcasts are also a great way to keep your mind engaged. If they’re too distracting during the workday, listen to them during your morning pre-work routine, much like you would have done while commuting to the office.

Get Everyone on Board

Whether it’s a spouse or roommate who is also working from home or children off from school, you may not find yourself alone in the house. While this can be great in terms of having company, it can be difficult when you need a quiet space to work. That’s why it’s important to get everyone in the house on board and set boundaries about when you are in work mode.

For those with small children, this may mean setting a schedule with your significant other and taking turns caring for the kids and working. If your kids are a bit older, make sure they understand that you can only be interrupted for emergencies and schedule certain times of the day when they know that they’ll be able to see you. That might mean lunch together or specific break times dedicated to them.

Know When to Turn Off

Anyone who works from home will tell you that this is fundamental. When you work from home, there’s a risk that the lines can become blurred between work time and personal time. That’s why it’s critical to have a limit to the hours you work. Once you’ve hit that limit, close the laptop and walk away from your desk. There’s always work to do no matter how many hours you dedicate and it will still be there tomorrow. So take a step back and enjoy your personal time, as you’ll be fresher and more focused the next morning if you do so.

https://mymodernmet.com/working-from-home-tips/

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